By The Canadian Press
TORONTO – He’s the Winnipeg Blue Bombers head coach but Mike O’Shea will forever be a Toronto Argonaut.
The club inducted O’Shea as an all-time Argo at halftime of its game versus Winnipeg at Rogers Centre on Friday night. The native of North Bay, Ont., becomes the 23rd player to receive the honour.
After the banner was unfurled showing O’Shea’s No. 50, a video tribute was played on the Jumbotron featuring comments from former Argos teammates Jeff Johnson, Chad Folk and Mike (Pinball) Clemons. After the ceremony was done, O’Shea waved to the crowd.
O’Shea, 45, won three Grey Cups with Toronto (1996, ’97 and ’04) as a player and also was an assistant coach with the club when it captured the 100th Grey Cup at Rogers Centre in 2012. O’Shea played in 205 regular-season games, the second-most by an Argos player, and 17 playoff contests.
He holds the CFL record for most regular-season games played by a defensive player (271). O’Shea is second in league history in tackles (1,151) and is the Argos career leader in both regular-season tackles (822) and Grey Cup tackles (15).
O’Shea spent 12 of his 16 CFL seasons in Toronto, earning East all-star honours five times while being named a league all-star in 1999. He’s the only Argo to be named the league’s top Canadian, doing so in 1999.
In 2006, O’Shea became the first Canadian ever to record 1,000 career tackles and in ’07 was named to the Argos’ all-century team at linebacker.
In 1993, he was named the CFL’s top rookie while with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. The Edmonton Eskimos selected O’Shea fourth overall in 1993 before dealing him to Steeltown.
O’Shea continue his football career as a coach, being named Toronto’s special-teams co-ordinator in 2010. On Friday night, he completed his second season as Winnipeg’s head coach.
O’Shea, who played collegiately at the University of Guelph, is a member of the Guelph Gryphons Sports Hall of Fame and was inducted into the North Bay Hall of Fame in 2013.